June 11, 2022
Full Strong, Half Strong, or Feeble? Let Husafell Decide
By Melissa Yinger
Athletes at Strength in Depth deal with Rogue's spin on a classic Strongman implement, Iceland's Husafell stone.
Athletes at Strength in Depth deal with Rogue's spin on a classic Strongman implement, Iceland's Husafell stone.

During the first day of team competition at CrossFit Strength in Depth, athletes took on The Goat Pen, a challenging workout that is one part classic gymnastics, one part Strongman, and all CrossFit:

Team Event 2 — The Goat Pen

Pair 1
80-ft handstand walk (both athletes)
6 rounds, “You Go, I Go” (3 times each):
6 ring muscle-ups
160-ft Husafell carry (75/50 kg)
80-ft handstand walk (both athletes)

Pair 2
80-ft handstand walk (both athletes)
4 rounds, “You Go, I Go” (2 times each):
12 ring muscle-ups
160-ft Husafell carry (75/50 kg)
80-ft handstand walk (both athletes)

Time cap: 15 minutes

Team Event 2 -- CrossFit Strength in Depth
CrossFit Aylesbury Team TAP on handstand walks, North Engine CrossFit on muscle-ups, and CrossFit Mayflower on the Husafell walk (Photo by ShutterWOD)

Husafell — the awkwardly shaped sand bag for which this workout is named — made its first appearance at the CrossFit Games in 2021 during Individual Event 5. This year it entered the team arena during the final weekend of Semifinals, sponsored by Rogue, which designed the implement.

Rogue’s Husafell for Strength in Depth weighs 75/50 kg (165/110 lb) and is modeled on the famous Husafell stone in Iceland — you may recall Björgvin Karl Gudmundsson posting about it in 2016. 

Equal parts history and "Sword in the Stone"-style lore, the original Husafell has been a test of strength in Iceland for more than 200 years. Legend has it that a pastor named Snorri Björnsson used the stone, a 186-kg (410-lb) hunk of dense volcanic basalt, as the door to his goat pen — an effective barrier since Björnsson could move the stone but the goats, most certainly, could not. Since Björnsson’s time, anyone who can lift the stone becomes “an instant legend,” according to Atlas Obscura. 

“Weightlifters, CrossFitters, and those who just fancy their luck visit Húsafell year-round to try lifting the stone,” Obscura’s site explains. “Several manage to pick it up, but none of them have anything on Snorri’s daughter who … could lift the stone and circle the pen twice.”

Not all who attempt to lift the stone fare as well as the members of the Björnsson family. Those who manage to make it move fall into one of three categories:

  1. Amlóði — This name describes one who is able to lift the stone to the height of their knees. It roughly translates to “poor, weak fellow” (Nordicnames.de). Fun fact: “Amlóði” is Old Icelandic for Amleth, the name of a character from a medieval Icelandic poem who is said to have lent his name to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

  2. Hálfsterkur — This name describes someone who can lift the stone to their waist, halfway up their body and therefore half-strong.

  3. Fullsterkur — This name is reserved for those who can lift the stone all the way up to their chest and carry it around the perimeter of the goat pen. Think Snorri’s daughter and Strongman superstars like Magnus Ver Magnuson and Hafthor Bjornsson.

Members of the CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue, CrossFit Aylesbury, and North Engine CrossFit teams — which took first, second, and third in The Goat Pen —  may fall into the fullsterkur camp. They handled the Rogue Husefell with aplomb and ease.

CrossFit Aylesbury - Team Event 2 - CrossFit Strength in Depth
CrossFit Aylesbury - Team Event 2 - CrossFit Strength in Depth (Photo by ShutterWOD)

Learn more about the stone and the history of strength training in Iceland in Rogue’s documentary film "Fullsterkur":

Cover photo by ShutterWOD — CrossFit Zug

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